So in typical fashion for me, that question has been stewing around for quite a while with the thought of trying to blog about it. It took some thoughts from the leadership at Netflix to get me writing this morning. Here are some choice quotes from the slides:
"The best managers figure out how to get great outcomes by setting the appropriate context, rather than by trying to control their people."
When things go wrong, "ask yourself, what context did you fail to set?"
"When you are tempted to control your people, ask yourself, what context you could set instead. Are you articulating and inspiring enough about goals and strategies?"
And finally, "high performance people will do better work if they understand the context."
I love all of these quotes because I think they get at the ideas that truly define leadership. It is about building culture (I word I do use a lot) communally, and about setting context (I word I don't use but will now) or another way of putting it is it is all about framing things for people.
The thing I also love about the quotes/philosophy of Netflix is that it puts the responsibility to respond and reflect on the leader. If things are not going well, how can I communicate better, is a question I typically ask myself. I am not always sure other leaders in education do the same.
There is a lot of "blame the teachers and principals" in the current education policy world and blogosphere. As a principal in a building, I always cringe when I hear other administrators talk badly about teachers in any sort of way. Teachers, any sort of employee or humans in general, are largely creatures of their context.
In my school division, we are in the midst of pre-service time for teachers. It is THE Time to set up context for the staff.
What contexts have we tried to set up a Greer during this time?
- Shared and distributed leadership
- Shared focus on instruction
- An "all out" effort to reach our community
- Giving people some time to wrestle with our school improvement goals and strategies
Here's to a great school year at Greer and schools everywhere!